Through its innovative “Kid’s Credit Union” program, Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union continues to reach more youth in the communities it serves, expanding over 200% in area schools last year. Southern Chautauqua FCU received a grant for the program from National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to cover the cost of materials.
The Kid’s Credit Union project begins with providing financial education to second graders in Southern Chautauqua FCU's community and follows these young individuals through to their graduation in high school. There are yearly goals for the individuals to meet with the end goal to graduate with a balance in their accounts of over $10,000.
Southern Chautauqua FCU's President/CEO John Felton talks to students at a local school about the Kid's Credit Union program and how they can graduate high school with $10,000 by meeting savings goals. Candy White, Kid's CU Coordinator, is standing behind a table with $10,000 in cash on display.
“The vision of the credit union is to strengthen these students’ financial position so they will have a positive impact in the workforce after high school and become the community’s bright future,” said John Felton, President/CEO at Southern Chautauqua FCU. “The best way to affect the future is to teach a child the value of saving money and rewarding them for their efforts.”
“Educating youth on the importance of saving and being financially savvy is critical,” said Lois Kitsch, National Program Director at NCUF. “Southern Chautauqua FCU’s Kid’s Credit Union program is a great mix of financial education with an attractive savings product.”
Kid’s Credit Union – Teaching Money Management & Savings
Kid’s Credit Union is a ten-year project, educating participating students on the “Save First” philosophy that Southern Chautauqua FCU has adopted. Southern Chautauqua FCU established Kid’s Credit Union in 2005 and began in two elementary schools. The credit union now works with six area elementary schools, each of which is located in low income designated areas within the community. Southern Chautauqua FCU uses their own financial education curriculum in the schools and employees teach the lessons. They also donate piggy banks to get students started saving.
A billboard advertises Southern Chautauqua FCU's Kid's Credit Union program around New York.
One major difference in the Kid’s Credit Union program from setting up a standard savings account for these students is in the structuring of their account as certificates. A schedule is given to the participants so they see how their money will grow if they continue through the ten-year process. Every student receives a certificate of completion at the end of the school year. As the end of the school year nears reminders are given to the participating students of the amount in their accounts with the amount needed to achieve their goal for that year.
This school year, Southern Chautauqua FCU has 40% more Kid’s Credit Union members than the previous year and have expanded educational offerings over 200% to be able to reach more students. The credit unions has already visited over 70 classrooms in the community focusing on the concepts of saving, setting goals and financial literacy. Southern Chautauqua FCU is set to expand to another area school in the near future.
A Foundation Grant at Work
NCUF grants are made possible by supporters of the Foundation and the Community Investment Fund (CIF), an award-winning system of investments that help credit unions earn dividends while donating to national and state community development programs.
This “Grant at Work” is part of a series highlighting NCUF grantees making a positive impact in their community and empowering consumers to achieve financial freedom through credit unions.
About the National Credit Union Foundation (ncuf.coop):
The National Credit Union Foundation is the US credit union movement's primary national philanthropic program provider, fundraiser and grant-maker, working to help consumers achieve financial freedom through credit unions. Through NCUF grants and programs, credit unions provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services, and empower more consumers to save, build assets, and own homes.
NCUF is funded primarily by investments in the award-winning Community Investment Fund (CIF) and by generous Supporters led by the Credit Union National Association and CUNA Mutual Group. All NCUF donors provide support that empowers NCUF and state credit union foundations to make financial freedom achievable through credit unions.
The National Credit Union Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization. NCUF continues to earn the Better Business Bureau seal of approval as an “Accredited Charity” for meeting all 20 BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for national charities.